Proposed rent controls ‘threaten delivery of social housing’, Holyrood committee told

Proposed rent controls 'threaten delivery of social housing', Holyrood committee told

Aaron Hill

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said that its members are key to tackling the cost of living crisis, but soaring construction costs, net zero targets and proposed government rent controls all threaten social landlords’ ability to play their part.

Giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee yesterday on the impact of the cost of living and public service reform, SFHA’s director of policy and membership, Aaron Hill, said that, without increased government investment, housing associations would not be able to build the affordable homes that are needed to tackle poverty if a proposed rent freeze is implemented.

Mr Hill said: “It is crucial that housing associations are able to continue building the affordable homes Scotland needs. Rents in the social housing sector are roughly half of those charged in the private sector, which directly helps to tackle poverty.

“Over half of social tenants are entitled to have their rents covered by welfare benefits, so a rent freeze will not affect their actual income but will mean housing associations have to cut back on service provision. Scotland will lose out on investment in housing and communities: so the unintended consequence is that the Treasury wins and tenants in Scotland lose out on more affordable homes.

“Soaring construction costs, net zero targets, and rent control all threaten our members’ ability to build homes. The Scottish Government must increase investment year on year for social landlords and rethink its plan to introduce rent controls or it risks missing its target to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.”

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